Abby Sunshine

Duck Toller

11-30-08 Abby Sunshine’s November Photo

Abby’s November 2008 photo has been selected for the “Photo Gallery” page. Check it out!

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11-29-08 Abby Sunshine’s Exercise

Abby exercises every day. What kind of exercise did Abby Sunshine and I do today for 45 minutes? Let me know your guess!

1. Run

2. Walk

3. Fetch a Ball (I throw, she fetches!)

4. Swim

5. Pull a Sled (I ride, she pulls!)

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11-28-08 Abby Sunshine Meets Hank

Abby met her “cousin” Hank over Thanksgiving weekend. Initially she was, how shall I put it. . .she let Hank know the backyard belongs to her! (This, of course, isn’t true, but sometimes Abby forgets). Hank is a Black Lab puppy, and bigger than Abby. Abby wanted Hank to mind his business and she wasn’t particularly welcoming. Hank just wanted to play. As you can see, we put Abby in a submissive position, to let her know Hank was welcome in our yard.

Things warmed up and the dogs played. It got pretty wild! Dogs will be dogs. They had a lot of fun (and so did Todd). There’s a lot more to introducing pets than one might think.

Here’s my new version of an old saying – “give a dog an inch, they’ll take a mile.” As you can see, Abby needed a little reminding to play nicely with puppy Hank. Look at how well she’s listening right now.

Hank is just a big puppy, Abby, lighten up.

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11-27-08 Thanksgiving

For what are you thankful today?

Here’s Abby Sunshine’s List

1. food


2. water

3. shelter

4. exercise

5. love


Happy Turkey Day!

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11-26-08 Book Recommendation

Cesar’s Way

The Natural, Everyday Guide to Understanding & Correcting Common Dog Problems

by Cesar Millan

I think this is a good book for anyone that has a dog and wants to have a deeper enjoyment of the experience! The thinking behind Cesar’s way (no pun intended) of working with dogs is intriguing to me and has helped me with other dogs, too. I like his natural approach of respecting dogs as animals and everyone working together. He has many tips for working through specific situations. My sister gave me this book and saw Cesar when he was in town!

See Inside!Cesar's Way by Cesar Millan: Book Cover


Whether you’re having issues with your dog or just want to make a good bond even stronger, this book will give you a deeper appreciation of how your dog sees the world, and it will help make your relationship with your beloved pet a richer and more rewarding one. Learn what goes on inside your dog’s mind and develop a positive, fulfilling relationship with your best friend.

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11-25-08 Meadowbrook

We took some extra time for Abby Sunshine to prepare for our visit today. I snapped this photo outside of Meadowbrook just before we entered. Doesn’t she look relaxed? Doesn’t she look ready to sit down and nicely listen to a story about herself? Well, that little rascal whined while I was reading the story. Can you believe it? The 4th graders were listening very well, and there was my sidekick, whining as I read her book. I am learning about what to do in a situation like that. Cesar Millan, the Dog Whisperer would know what to do. By petting her, I may have been rewarding the whine. Something made her feel uneasy. She perked up when it was time to do tricks. In fact, she did “stand-up” really nicely for the class. I like when she pauses while standing on two legs. It is impressive and got a WOW from the audience! The kids were busy working on some fancy book reports / posters. I could see the work was high quality. It is remarkable to witness what 4th graders can create. They shared some good ideas of things to teach Abby Sunshine, too.


11-23-08 Making Fudge

Abby gravitates to the action. This time it was making fudge, which is off-limits for her to eat. Grandma and Renae were busy. Abby Sunshine likes to stand on the lower step of the kitchen “sturdy chair.” She’s a bit closer this way.

She now moves toward the island as activity has moved away from the stovetop. Does anyone notice her? She is alert and ready if anything should fall.

I like this visual of Abby’s tongue. Dad is holding her far from the fresh fudge, but she still licks at something!

I found some fun ideas for kids in the kitchen. Go to and click on Kids’ Table. The turkey cupcakes look great for Thanksgiving. Today Renae made us some delicious “Easy Mac and Cheese” from her Betty Crocker Kids Cook! cookbook.

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11-21-08 Meadowbrook

Abby was all decked out and ready to hang with the 4th graders at Meadowbrook again! Although this was a different classroom, Abby had a lot of friends that she met last year and some she knows from the bus stop! The class was really fun. The conversation was superlative. I chose to use that word, because part of what we discussed was using interesting words when we write! On the creativity sheet, students thought of such good ideas about what to teach Abby. I am particularly interested in the idea of teaching her to cook dinner. Now that would be nice, Abby Sunshine.

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11-20-08 Grandma’s Here!

Grandma has arrived for a visit. She brought treats for Abby!

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11-19-08 Is Abby Sunshine a Musk Ox?

I toured a research facility in Fairbanks, Alaska and learned all sorts of tidbits about musk oxen, these unusual, and highly insulated creatures of the North. The season is changing and so is Abby’s fur. She has this incredible fur that I can’t even begin to describe. First of all, she can stay warm in very cold conditions. She swims happily in ice water. She swims energetically in Lake Superior, average temperature 40 degrees, yes, chilly. She will lay for awhile on a snowbank, get up, and the snow will not be melted. It is as if she has an elaborate insulation system. Today I noticed some groovy, fluffy fur on her legs. I am deducing that it is her super warm winter stuff. It is unbelievably luxurious and soft. I’m not sure the photo captures it,

but take my word, it is SOFT with a capital S-O-F-T. Anyway, it reminds me of what I’ve learned about musk oxen. Abby’s fur reminded me of the fabulous “qiviut” fibers for which the musk oxen are famous. Any Alaskan worth their salt, or any Alaskan that wants to keep warm, has a knit qiviut hat, scarf or mittens.  Qiviut (pronounced “kiv-ee-ute”), the downy-soft underwool from the Arctic musk ox, is shed naturally each year during the spring months. Eight times warmer than wool and extraordinarily lightweight, Qiviut is one of the finest natural fibers known. It’s not only super soft, but it’s also very warm. I think people also wear long underwear of this stuff, so you know it’s got to be warm. I continue to research duck toller fur. Little Abby Sunshine may not be a musk ox (thank goodness, they would NOT make a cozy house pet), but she can stay warm.

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